Translations of Governor Ram Naik’s memoirs, including in English and Urdu, will be launched at the President’s house on November 9, and talks about the “birth of the BJP” among other aspects of his life. The memoir Charaiveti! Charaiveti! (March ahead! March ahead!), originally written in Marathi, begins with a description of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s speech at Shivaji Park in Dadar on December 30, 1980, before declaring the formation of the BJP. It will also be released in Gujarati and Hindi.
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“‘The darkness will end, the sun will rise and the lotus will bloom’, shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s voice thundered across the vast expanse of Mumbai’s Shivaji Park in Dadar. It was the evening of December 30, 1980 and masses of the public had assembled to witness the birth of the Bharatiya Janata party” writes Naik in his book, adding that it was a “turning point, not only in my life, but in that of India’s too. The rest is history”.
The book also has a picture of Atal Bihari Vajpayee delivering his speech with L K Advani, Sikandar Bakht, Ram Naik and Ram Jethmalani sitting on the dais.
Naik, who was a “full-time worker” of Jana Sangh in his early days, goes on to write that because of the “internal squabble” in Janata Party in 1980, RSS activists were “caught in a cleft stick- either snap ties with RSS, or leave the Janata Party”.
Having worked as organising secretary of Mumbai Jana Sangh before the Emergency, and then as President of Mumbai Janata Party, Governor Ram Naik claimed in his book that on April 6, 1980, select leaders and workers of erstwhile Jana Sangh called a meeting in Delhi. According to him, the agenda was also to retain self-respect by ensuring that the trust reposed by people was not betrayed.
“A decision was taken at this meeting to establish a separate party – The Bharatiya Janata Party. The birth of BJP extricated us from this quandary, and we were free once again to function according to our ideology,” he writes.
He claims that one of the crucial issues that they had to confront was whether they should rejoin the Jana Sangh. However, there were workers from other constituents of Janata Party who were ready to join them, but not Jana Sangh.
“Therefore, to resolve this conundrum, it was decided to form an entirely new party,” he writes.
In his book, he says that the Bandra Reclamation near the sea was selected for BJP’s maiden session in Mumbai, and youngsters who had associated with them in fight against the Emergency extended a helping hand for arrangements. This included Kirit Somaiya, Arun Deo, Ramesh Medhkar and Madhu Chavan and current Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal.
“Piyush Goyal, who was then in his early teens and was fondly called ‘Happy’ by all, was another enthusiastic who toiled alongside us,” writes Naik.
Claiming that as many as 54,000 delegates had arrived on the first day, he talks about “humility” of Raj Mata Scindia, who disposed her used plate after her meal, and how presence of newcomers like Sikandar Bakhta from Congress(O) became a “morale-booster”.
Naik also writes that then Justice M C Chagla, who had been Chief Justice of Bombay High Court and later became Union minister in the Indira Gandhi Cabinet, had then told the audience, “I can see a miniature India here, and by my side sits a future Prime Minister of India – Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”
“Chagla’s prophecy lifted our spirits considerably,” he writes.
He also mentions that the slogan, “Agali Bari, Atal Bihari” was born at this convention. “As the BJP’s Mumbai unit chief, I vowed to work more determinedly to build the party.”
The book also has a picture of Naik working as a full-timer for Jana Sangh, holding a megaphone in a meeting addressed by Motiram Lahane. He also mentions that his wife Kunda Naik is daughter of “Late K N Dharap, a staunch supporter of the Hindu Mahasabha” and a legal expert.
Naik writes, “When Swatantraveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was arrested as an accused in connection with the Mahatma Gandhi assassination case, Dharap was among those who helped Savarkar by offering legal assistance and guidance.” He also mentions how Savarkar had gone to Dharap’s house after his acquittal.
“Kunda was Dharap’s youngest child. Coming from such a venerated family, her presence filled my abode with joy and satisfaction,” he has written in his memoir. On the “twists and turns in my life”, Naik writes, “I am now Governor of the largest state in India – Uttar Pradesh. Let’s see, where this turn leads to….”